Beneficial reuse involves turning potential waste into a valuable resource. As the old saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
Large manufacturers are finding new ways to use materials that were formerly discarded. The byproducts of one sector can be repurposed to benefit another sector. Beneficial reuse benefits the environment while boosting the economy and increasing business profitability.
Partner with Wakefield BioChar for the beneficial reuse of your company’s or municipality’s biomass waste! We understand that the environmental and societal benefits of biomass waste management go hand-in-hand with operational improvements. Learn how we can help large mills or other businesses achieve and surpass sustainability goals while reducing their operating costs.
What Is Beneficial Reuse?
Beneficial reuse is the practice of turning waste into valuable commodities. It is the principle behind municipal recycling and extends into the many ways industries are finding new uses for materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Beneficial reuse results in a shift from linear to circular consumption patterns. A “circular economy” keeps products and materials for as long as possible by employing various strategies focused on “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
For example, landfills are a major cause of global warming and climate change. Rather than have biomass waste material from paper mills hauled off to a landfill to decompose and add carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere, repurpose this biomass into biochar, a premium soil conditioner.
The conversion of biomass into biochar creates a fixed carbon material that does not decompose into greenhouse gases.
By partnering with Wakefield BioChar, these paper mills recognize a full circular economy that recycles the waste material into premium soil amendments for large agricultural producers as well as backyard gardeners.
The good news is that there is a continuing emergence of sustainable and resource-efficient approaches in multiple industries in dealing with waste materials. As the EPA points out, “Treating waste materials as potential resources means changing our thinking from waste management to materials management.”
How Beneficial Reuse Helps Mills and Other Businesses with Wood Waste
The mill industry produces many common byproducts, and these materials are a business opportunity waiting to be tapped. Paper mills pay a tremendous amount of money to dispose of pulp and wood sludge. The conversion of byproducts such as wood chips, sawdust, and bark from waste to biochar is good for the bottom line as well as the planet.
Harnessing Mill Byproducts
Biochar is created via pyrolysis, the heating of organic biomass at high temperatures in an oxygen-free environment. The process results in a solid residue consisting of a minimum of 80 percent elemental carbon known as biochar. The mill byproducts are prevented from being converted into carbon dioxide or methane and instead are converted into a stable form of carbon used in agriculture and remediation.
Potential uses of biochar include but are not limited to:
- Soil amendment – Biochar improves soil health for all types of planting.
- Water filtration – Biochar can filter pollutants out of water, including heavy metals and hydrocarbons. It is an excellent choice for water remediation in urban environments.
- Carbon sequestration – For every pound of biochar used in soil, two pounds of carbon dioxide are sequestered.
Economic and Operational Perks for Mills
How does beneficial reuse provide economic and operational benefits for mills? First, it creates cost-effective waste management and upcycling. Fees paid to remove waste are minimized.
For instance, the production of biochar from biomass generates a considerable amount of energy. This energy is made available to mills in the form of renewable natural gas or steam. Not only does this natural energy source reduce mill costs, but businesses save money due to a much smaller footprint needed for landfill operations.
Mills can also tap into growing markets for biochar products. Biochar improves plant health and crop yield and can turn infertile soils into productive acreage.
The Larger Significance of Beneficial Reuse in Today’s World
Beneficial reuse provides environmental benefits reaching far beyond landfill waste reduction. Well-designed beneficial reuse programs create less environmental risk and reduce and often eliminate potential hazards.
Such programs encourage natural resource conservation and carbon emission reduction, helping the fight against global warming.
The global waste problem continues to escalate, and beneficial reuse can combat this growing threat. According to a recent report, the global waste trajectory is estimated to grow from 2.24 billion tons in 2020 to almost 3.88 billion tons by 2050.
Waste management systems must tackle trash at the source, focusing on reuse, recycling, and similar circular methodologies.
As the EPA points out, the most effective way of reducing waste is not to create it in the first place.
Partner With Wakefield BioChar for Beneficial Reuse of Biomass Waste
At Wakefield BioChar, we’re excited about the opportunity to make a positive change to large industrial operations and improve the health of our planet through effective biomass waste management. Learn more about biochar and contact us at Wakefield BioChar to find out how beneficial reuse can help your company.